That’s my son Lucas and my dad, his grandfather, today at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. It was a good trip. My dad was Lucas’s age when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. It was interesting listening to him in the back seat on the way to New Orleans, telling Lucas how anxious it was to be a little boy out in the country during the war, learning how to spot planes by their profiles overhead, listening to the radio at night for news of the war, wondering when his father (who was out building airports and things for the war effort) would come home. In the photo above, my father is explaining to Lucas what a flamethrower (see far right, inside the display case) was used for. Unimaginably horrible. The boy can’t really fathom what that means. Looking at this myself, I recalled reading William Manchester’s memoir of fighting in the Pacific Theater, “Goodbye, Darkness,” and trying to wrap my mind around the idea of burning people to death with napalm via flamethrower.
The thing I kept thinking as I went through the museum: Please, God, spare my sons the agony of war.